Alan Cheuse

Alan Cheuse has been reviewing books on All Things Considered since the 1980s. His challenge is to make each two-minute review as fresh and interesting as possible while focusing on the essence of the book itself.

Formally trained as a literary scholar, Cheuse writes fiction and novels and publishes short stories. He is the author of five novels, five collections of short stories and novellas, and the memoir Fall Out of Heaven. His prize-winning novel To Catch the Lightning is an exploration of the intertwined plights of real-life frontier photographer Edward Curtis and the American Indian. His latest work of book-length fiction is the novel Song of Slaves in the Desert, which tells the story of a Jewish rice plantation-owning family in South Carolina and the Africans they enslave. His latest collection of short fiction is An Authentic Captain Marvel Ring and Other Stories. With Caroline Marshall, he has edited two volumes of short stories. A new version of his 1986 novel The Grandmothers' Club will appear in March, 2015 as Prayers for the Living.

With novelist Nicholas Delbanco, Cheuse wrote Literature: Craft & Voice, a major new introduction to literary study. Cheuse's short fiction has appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, The Antioch Review, Ploughshares, and The Southern Review. His essay collection, Listening to the Page, appeared in 2001.

Cheuse teaches writing at George Mason University, spends his summers in Santa Cruz, California, and leads fiction workshops at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. He earned his Ph.D. in comparative literature with a focus on Latin American literature from Rutgers University.

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NWPR Books
3:23 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Rebuilding A Broken Family 'In Plain Sight'

When Nuruddin Farah was a young writer, he published a satirical novel about Somalia, his native country. On his way home from a trip he called his brother, to ask for a ride from the airport. His brother told him not to come home: His novel had caused a stir, and authorities were looking for him.

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Book News & Features
1:24 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

'Lila' Sets The Stage For Marilynn Robinson's Earlier Works

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 3:03 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NWPR Books
10:09 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Two Dead Writers Come Alive In New Collections

This month sees the publication of posthumous collections of short fiction by two 20th century literary giants, the Italian fantasist Italo Calvino, and the American science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick. Reading these two books is like partaking in one of those fabled banquets of desserts. I seized the opportunity to read as many of the stories as I could in one sitting.

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Book Reviews
3:48 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Martin Amis' 'Zone Of Interest' Is An Electrically Powerful Holocaust Novel

When I picked up Martin Amis' new novel, The Zone of Interest, it felt as though I had touched a third rail, so powerful and electric is the experience of reading it. After years of playing the snide card and giving his great store of talents to the business of giving other people the business, Amis has turned again to the matter of Nazi horrors (he tried to deal with it in a gimmicky way in his 1991 novel Time's Arrow), and the result is a book that may stand for years as the triumph of his career.

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Book Reviews
1:11 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Book Review: 'Lovely, Dark, Deep'

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 7:19 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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NWPR Books
10:09 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Oates' Latest Story Collection Is 'Dark, Deep' And Marvelous

Norman Mailer, one of the most prolific American writers of the 20th century, may have compared himself to some of the heavyweights of modern literature. But Joyce Carol Oates is an entire sports complex, including the Olympic-sized pools and the locker rooms.

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NWPR Books
5:40 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

'Kill My Mother' Is A Darkly Drawn Confection

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Jules Feiffer ā€” now in his mid-80sā€” has been in the business for more than 60 years. So his first graphic novel, a darkly drawn confection in the noir tradition, called Kill My Mother, comes late in his career. I feel a certain kinship with him, because as a reader I'm a latecomer to the genre myself. Call me a dinosaur, but his book, so deliciously inviting to scan (if a bit convoluted in its plot), is one of the first of its kind that I've read cover to cover.

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NWPR Books
8:59 am
Sun August 17, 2014

A Tumultuous Journey Along This 'Narrow Road'

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 4:14 pm

Tasmanian-born novelist Richard Flanagan named his latest book after a spiritually intense travel journal by the 17th century Japanese poet Basho, but this extraordinary new novel presents us with a story much more tumultuous than the great haiku writer's account of his wanderings. Flanagan has written a sort of Australian War and Peace, centered on the extraordinary Dorrigo Evans (also Tasmanian-born), a heroic yet philandering doctor.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Wed August 6, 2014

An Heir To E.M. Forster's Vision In 'Every Stone'

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 4:38 pm

Every literate nation should have the epics it deserves. The Indian subcontinent already has Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (among a few others), and now we can add to that illuminating company Kamila Shamsie's new novel, A God in Every Stone. Stretching from the ancient Persian Empire to the waning days of the British Empire, the novel has an enormous wingspan that catches a wonderful storyteller's wind.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Wed July 30, 2014

An Unconventional Family On The Road To Happiness In 'Lucky Us'

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 4:09 pm

Amy Bloom's new novel Lucky Us takes readers across America in the 1940s, that special decade of wartime dislocation and post-war disruption ā€” with side-trips to England and Germany ā€” in the company of a pair of half-sisters as endearing and comically annoying as any you'll find in contemporary fiction.

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